From Microsoft Office Specialist to Machine Learning Engineer

As a child in Mexico, Juan Manuel Suárez struggled with arthritis. Juan said, “As a child with arthritic hands, I had a fixed mindset. I didn’t think that I born to be great.” But the Juan of today no longer puts limits on his potential. “I discovered that the only limit is my own imagination.” Find out how Juan’s imagination, his dedication, and his industry certifications have lifted him into a successful career as a Machine Learning Engineer.

Certiport: Juan, thank you so much for chatting with us!

Juan: Of course! I’ve been such a big fan of Certiport for a long time.

Certiport: We feel like you’re part of the Certiport family, and have been for a long time.

Juan: That’s true. It’s been over eight years. Back in 2014, I got the opportunity to get my first certification, the Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2010 exam. That experience opened the door for me to compete in the regional MOS Championship in Mexico. I pushed myself to earn a MOS Word 2013 certification in 2015. My parents, my coach and I pushed really hard, and I got the opportunity to go to the 2016 MOS World Championship where I got 9th place, that was the moment where it all started.

Certiport: That’s a common theme we hear from other students as well. Once they get one certification, they get bit by the “certification bug” and push themselves to earn more.

Juan: Exactly! Since getting that first certification, I realized how important certifications are and the world of possibilities that those bring with them. I also got the “world championship bug” and tried to go once again, I made it in the PowerPoint 2016 category back in 2018 and got the 5th place. But because of all those life changing opportunities today I have 23 Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, a pair of additional Microsoft certifications, and another pair of Society of Actuaries certifications.

Certiport: You certainly caught the bug! Do you feel like these certifications have impacted your career?

Juan: Definitely. My certifications have opened a lot of doors for me at school. I have the opportunity to teach a lot of people basic technology skills like Microsoft Office and coding. Having a lot of certifications has also helped me to get into boot camps and job interviews. It opened a lot of doors in the professional areas of my life. A resume with certifications, like mine, shows that you have relevant knowledge and that you’re willing to learn and challenge yourself.

Certiport: And that resume landed you your current job, correct?

Juan: Correct. I’m currently a Jr. Machine Learning Engineer at Rappi and I’m also in my last year of my bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México.

Certiport: And what do you do in your current role?

Juan: As a Machine Learning Engineer, I’m in charge of creating and maintaining the infrastructure where the Machine Learning Models live. At Rappi all the data that is collected by the app is used to make recommendations of products that you may like so you find them easily. Part of my daily activities is to check with business or resources metrics if the models are working, fix what I can if necessary, and work with Data Scientists to plan the deployments of new Machine Learning models.

Certiport: That’s incredible! What amazing experience you’re getting, even before you graduate from college.

Juan: Absolutely. I have worked hard to get to where I am today. But there is no way that I could’ve done it alone. One person that had a big impact on my life is my teacher, Martha Matadamas. She’s an exceptional educator, because she not only cares about what her students do in the classroom, but also what we do in the real world. She always looks out for us and helps us become good students and good human beings. She’s a remarkable person in our community and I will always be grateful for the help and moments together because she is a big part of what I am now.

I also want to give big thanks to my parents, family, friends and all the people that have supported me in this journey because without them this won’t be possible. Plus, a big shootout to Certiport and all the people there because they keep giving everyone a chance to have this life changing opportunities.

Certiport: What an incredible tribute. We’re so grateful for Martha, because she helps students like you. We wanted to end with one more question. What advice would you give to other students looking for a career like yours?

Juan: The piece of advice: NEVER GIVE UP! Why? You never know what could happen if you don’t try, even if you feel like you’re not good enough or that you’re missing something. Don’t count yourself out reject yourself before someone else does, and most importantly, try to see your life as a marathon not a sprint. In life we have setbacks, but don’t let one of those keep you away from your goals and dreams.

My second piece of advice is to learn! Knowledge is power, and it’s only a matter of time before you see the results of your dedication to learn something new. You may see results sooner if you certify. If you’re really interested in a career, get to know people who already made it or who are also interested and learn from them. The sooner you start, the better it gets.

Ready to empower your students with skills to succeed? Learn more about the MOS certification program here.